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The British Academy Film Awards

Posted: Mon, 16th Feb 2004, 10:22am

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Simon K Jones

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Anybody that hasn't been living under a rock for the past few weeks will have noticed that we are currently in the thick of the awards season. We're still leading up to the big American awards, but the British Academy held their primary occasion last night with a particularly glitzy affair that saw many Hollywood heavyweights descending on London to find out who would walk away with the coveted BAFTA golden mask.

The BAFTAs have taken on a higher profile in recent years due to revised scheduling and a greater international presence, as reflected this year by the major turn-out of Hollywood talent, from the Miramax head honchos and the casts of all the major nominees to seemingly the entire Lord of the Rings crew.

If the glamorous fashion display threatened to undermine the whole point of the evening, things were put into sharp perspective by the mischievous and decidedly British host - the inimitable Stephen Fry. Firing off increasingly risque jokes at his audience's expense, Fry kept the show entertaining and served as a vital antidote to the potential self-importance that tends to accompany these self-congratulatory industry affairs.

As for the awards themselves, it was expected to be a showdown between several major epics, in the form of The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World and the decidedly more tidily titled Cold Mountain. Nipping at their heels was a much lower budgeted movie which relied on intimate characters rather than sweeping visuals: Lost in Translation.

Peter Jackson's closing chapter to his monumental Lord of the Rings adaptation proved to be the popular winner, breaking through the normal genre prejudice to walk away with Best Film, Best Cinematography, Best Special Effects, the Orange Film of the Year and Best Adapted Screenplay (which seemed to leave Philippa Boyens somewhat shocked). Master and Commander cemented the current love for rousing, old-fashioned epics, with Peter Weir nabbing the Best Director award away from Peter Jackson and the crew receiving recognition for their achievements in production design, costuming and sound.

Sneaking up from behind, Lost in Translation bagged both the major acting awards, with Bill Murray justifiably taking Best Actor for a subtle performance that uses the best of his dramatic and comedic skills and the delectable Scarlett Johansson taking Best Actress at only 19, despite her two nominations in the same category risking a split vote.

This year's BAFTAs were snappy, entertaining and surprisingly pleasing, with a solid group of nominees resulting in equally satisfying results. Let us know what you think of the awards - who were you hoping to win?

Click here to see a full list of the awards.

Last edited Mon, 16th Feb 2004, 1:03pm; edited 3 times in total.

Posted: Mon, 16th Feb 2004, 10:22am

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Simon K Jones

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Rating: +2

Best Film
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

The Alexander Korda Award for the outstanding British film of the year
Touching the Void

The Carl Foreman Award for special achievement by a British director/producer or writer in their first feature film
Emily Young (Director/Writer, Kiss of Life)

The David Lean Award for achievement in Direction
Peter Weir (Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World)

Screenplay (original)
Tom McCarthy (The Station Agent)

Screenplay (adapted)
Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson (The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King)

Film not in the English language
Andrew Eaton, Anita Overland, Michael Winterbottom (In This World)

Actor in a leading role
Bill Murray (Lost In Translation)

Actress in a leading role
Scarlett Johansson (Lost In Translation)

Actor in a supporting role
Bill Nighy (Love Actually)

Actress in a supporting role
Renee Zellweger (Cold Mountain)

The Anthony Asquith award for achievement in film music
Gabriel Yared, T-Bone Burnett (Cold Mountain)

Cinematography
Andrew Lesnie (The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King)

Editing
Sarah Flack (Lost in Translation)

Production design
William Sandell (Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World)

Costume design
Wendy Stites (Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World)

Sound
Richard King, Doug Hemphill, Paul Massey, Art Rochester (Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World)

Achievement in special visual effects
Joe Letteri, Jim Rygiel, Randall William Cook, Alex Funke (The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King)

Make up & hair
Ve Neill, Martin Samuel (Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl)

Short Animation
Sue Goffe, Marc Craste (Jojo in the Stars)

Short film
Natasha Carlish, Mark Leveson, Michael Baig Clifford, Geoff Thompson (Brown Paper Bag)

Academy Fellowship
John Boorman

The Michael Balcon award for outstanding British contribution to cinema
Working Title Films

Orange film of the year (public vote)
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Last edited Mon, 16th Feb 2004, 1:03pm; edited 1 times in total.

Posted: Mon, 16th Feb 2004, 10:25am

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er-no

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I wasn't really too impressed with the awards show itself but I was mostly pleased with what won what.


Although Jackson should have won for best Director.
Posted: Mon, 16th Feb 2004, 11:50am

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drdespair

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I am still in shock from the fact that Lost in Translation won anything, to me it seems like a boring movie that showed how discontent and alienated the American tourist is when exposed to Japanese culture. The soul searching or purpose searching story is only marginally interesting, the acting.. well.. i don’t think they really needed to act at all, it was more of a moment film, what I mean by moment film is that Bill Murry was in essence playing him self. If you want a film which does a much better job at soul searching and meaning in life.. watch the "Fabulous Destiny of Amelie Poulain" it was the first film which came to my head, its not the best out there, but its 100% more entertaining then Lost in Translation, and there is a message in there as well. I am just surprised.. perhaps I am missing something in the movie, but I really wasn’t impressed.

D.

Last edited Mon, 16th Feb 2004, 12:00pm; edited 1 times in total.

Posted: Mon, 16th Feb 2004, 11:59am

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Simon K Jones

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Amelie was a fun, whimsical fantasy movie. Personally I found it a little too detached from reality to have any particular meaning or long-lasting feelings from it. It's a very good film, though, with some great ideas, although it did tend to come across as several short films strung together at times.

Lost in Translation is my favourite film of this year so far...great, natural performances. It wasn't out to make any grand points, it was just about how you can feel a bit isolated and lost at times - both in their lives, and literally, being in Japan. That could apply to anybody anywhere, not just American tourists.

It's essentially a romantic comedy, but shot through with a natural realism that made it work far better than the more mainstream Julia Roberts fare, which normally resorts to ridiculously contrived and sickly sentimentalism. Lost in Translation was just a nice, quiet character piece.

Of course, if the characters don't appeal to you then the film won't either...but personally I could identify a lot with both of them, for various reasons, and found the movie funny, touching and moving throughout. It felt a little like a road movie in which the protagonists are unable to leave their hotel. It's not for everyone, but I saw it in absolutely the right mood and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Oh, and it didn't exactly hurt that Miss Johansson is rather pleasant to watch.
Posted: Tue, 17th Feb 2004, 11:13am

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meridianrising

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Well I have to say that the BAFTAs offered some nice surprises for once, something I hope the Academy Awards can emulate on February 29th.

Though not the greatest fan of Lost in Translation (despite having every intent of seeing it again), I'm glad it won what it did. Sofia Coppola's presence was a delight and her relaying of Bill Murray's acceptance speech was great. Additionally Scarlett Johanson's win was deserved and it seems a pity she did not get a nomination for an Academy Award. However, I was glad to see it didn't win best original screenplay, as imho, it was certainly not the strongest part of the film and it's well known a great deal of it was improvised (something which worked in favour of the film). That Th Station Agent won, something I've wanted to see for quite a long time, was nice.

Of course it was great to see Lord of the Rings: Return of the King win best film et al, as it was really deserved. I would hope the same will occur at the Academy Awards, but in all honesty, I think Lost in Translation will have the edge there and Peter Jackson won't get the attention he deserves.

A great delight for the night was the lack of awards for Mystic River. Though once enticed by the film, after seeing it I realised how much praise had been lavished on a terribly dull and drawn out film, lacking in good acting, a decent script and, at best, only competant directing. The strangest thing was Laura Linney's nomination. Despite being one of my favourite actresses, her part was tiny in the film and certainly not worthy of praise. Add to that an ending which comes out of nowhere and makes little or no sense and you have a film hardly worthy of a direct to video release.

My primary disappointment was that Good Bye, Lenin! did not win best foreign language film. Though I have, admittedly, not seen the other nominees, I found it a hugely satisfying and involving film.

So, in two weeks, it'll be interesting to see what the Hollywood glitterati decide is worthy of their attention.

PJ